Financial Management:

National Park Service Implements New Accounting System

AFMD-91-10: Published: Feb 13, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 13, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the accounting capabilities of the National Park Service (NPS) and monitored its implementation of a new accounting system for its bureaus and major offices.

GAO found that NPS: (1) formerly used a system that did not comply with federal accounting standards, but implemented its new Federal Financial System (FFS) to improve its accounting operations; (2) expected its new accounting system to provide proper accounting for NPS appropriations and allocation of park entrance fees; (3) delayed establishing automatic interfaces with its other financial data systems and deferred plans to change its accounting codes; (4) also modified plans to provide many of the new system's users with direct access to the system's mainframe computer; and (5) required close monitoring to help ensure that its system's costs do not increase beyond its needs for effective operation, NPS uses sufficient staff to operate the system, and system documentation is adequate.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: While the areas discussed in the GAO report have not been given separate consideration, GAO was advised that they are a part of the NPS long-term accounting system improvement program, which will take several years to complete, and are monitored through FMFIA on an overall basis. Thus, this should satisfy the intent of the recommendation.

    Recommendation: To ensure that NPS develops and completes the enhancements to FFS that are planned or being considered and that the areas of particular concern to the subcommittees are properly accounted for through FFS, the Secretary of the Interior should instruct the Director, NPS, to monitor the areas discussed in this report through reviews of the NPS accounting system, under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA).

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In late 1991, NPS sent a letter to all parks regarding proper fee allocation. Interior's 1991 FMFIA report states that NPS accounting systems conform to the government's core financial requirements and standard general ledger. Further, since the report, interim accounting standards recommended by FASAB provide for agencies to use existing accounting procedures for financial statements.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should disclose to Congress, through Interior's reports under FMFIA, whether NPS is properly accounting for its appropriations and allocating park entrance fees.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior


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